SHAMED former Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly has been suspended by the Irish Football Association.
The 24-year-old has been banned from all football affiliated with the IFA until September 1 this year on a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.
Donnelly, of Ardilea Drive in north Belfast, was sentenced to three months in prison at Belfast County Court earlier this month, after an appeal judge reduced his original four-month term by a month.
He admitted the charge of sharing an indecent image of a child at Belfast magistrates Court last November.
Donnelly was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.
In a statement this afternoon, the IFA said: “The Disciplinary Committee of the Irish FA has today charged Jay Donnelly with a breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association (Bringing the game of Association Football into disrepute) and suspended him from all affiliated football until 1 September 2019.
“Mr Donnelly has the right to challenge the charge and/or sanction.”
Cliftonville eventually sacked the player following his sentencing but critics say he should have been sacked after he pleaded guilty to the charge in court.
Donnelly took a photograph of himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl who was wearing a Cliftonville shirt with his name and number on the back in June 2016.
He shared the image with a friend and with a number of other players on WhatsApp.
It was later leaked on social media and as a result his victim suffered abuse in the street.
Donnelly admitted the charge of distributing the image at Belfast Magistrates Court on November 23, 2018.
The following day he played in a fixture against the Reds’ rivals Linfield.
But it was to be the final time he played for the Solitude side.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland cut his four month sentence to three months earlier this month.
But he refused to suspend the sentence and Donnelly was taken into immediate custody.
He is expected to be freed in July but his future in local football is now at end and he may be forced to look at plying his trade across the Irish Sea.